Helping a New Boat Owner Learn the Ropes


This testimonial was provided to me by Lauryn, she would be happy to answer any questions you may have.

I purchased my 1981 25’ Catalina with only a cursory knowledge of sailing, and no experience with boat ownership. I’m happy to say my first summer aboard Polaris was successful – with over 80 sails on Casco Bay – and only one event that required Sea Tow. I owe part of my success Chris Avallone’s marine consulting services. He helped me learn about the ins and outs of my boat, seamanship, the basics of boat maintenance, and helped with general repairs.


medockingboatI spent over $1500 in sailing lessons with a local sailing school – and I wish I had just spent all of that with Dirigo Maritime. Where my sailing instructor assured me that I would eventually become comfortable docking my boat with more experience, Chris made sure I understood the foundation of when and why to maneuver my boat in ways that would set me up for docking success – not just in my slip, but anywhere I ended up sailing. 2 weeks after enlisting his help, I no longer needed to call the marina for help departing and re-entering my slip. I am more comfortable with docking and maneuvering my boat under motor than I would have thought I could have been after a few a years of sailing, and that was after just a few lessons with Chris.


Chris also provided invaluable expertise while Polaris was in the marina. This summer we had several big storms, and I enlisted Chris’s help to make sure that my boat was prepared to weather them safely. Inevitably, I made a few errors in my preparations, but Chris patiently explained to me why we needed to make changes, and had the resources on hand to make sure Polaris was secure.
robynonmastThe first time I needed to look at something up my mast, Chris provided know-how (and muscle) to get my friend safely hoisted up. It was not something I would have dared doing without competent and careful supervision.


And let’s get back to my experience with Sea Tow. A local repair shop failed two times (with long waits) at correctly identifying and fixing the issues that were making my 8 hp outboard motor stall out, and it resulted in me being stuck out on Casco Bay without a motor this summer. This was after only a month of boat ownership and to say I was frustrated was an understatement. Part of me wanted to buy a new outboard motor even though the one that came with my boat was only 3 years old. The other part of me just wanted to give up on sailing, I was frustrated and sad, and felt like I was in over my head. I called Chris and he came over to look at the engine, he sent me to Hamilton Marine with a shopping list of two items, and my motor was purring by the end of the day. He walked me through the mechanics of installing a fuel filter, and why he suspected that was the issue. the motor didn’t give me an issue for the rest of summer, and this was Chris’s first look it, at a fraction of the price of hiring a mechanic.


Just a month later, while on a friend’s boat with an inboard motor, it started stalling, and I suggested they might need to check into an fuel filter – which ended up being the problem. After 3 months on the water, starting where I knew absolutely nothing, to being able to diagnose something speaks to the sort of help that Chris gave me. He never just fixed an issue for me, but empowered me to know more about my boat, and be prepared for issues I may encounter on my own. I can’t speak highly enough about the services provided by Dirigo Maritime. 


Thank you Chris for all your help,



Lauryn and Milo


Chapman School of Seamanship
American Boat & Yacht Council
Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice